Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Importance of Track Checklists

Trackdays are a great way to properly exercise our cars and an activity that many of us enjoy.  Ensuring that our cars run well, without mechanical problems, generally comes down to preparation before the event AND during the event.  In the last several years, we've come to adopt a more 'race-like' approach to our trackdays.  This entry discusses and provides Checklists that we have used to keep our cars running well.

Racing has taught us that Checklists are key to reliable running.  Anyone who runs trackdays -  racing or not - will also benefit from the use of Checklists.  Our participation in Lotus Cup and now with our Spec:Race Atom series has given us a perfect opportunity to use these Checklists effectively.  

Here are ones that we use (click link to see each list):
  1. Initial Checklist
  2. Post Practice Checklist
  3. Track Checklist
  4. Set Up/ Set Down Checklist
Aggressively run cars - especially with slicks need frequent wheel bolt torque inspection

A clipboard is an effective tool to organize and use your Checklists.  For racing we follow a strict sequence and use these Checklists as follows:

Sheltered workspace is ideal - bring an EZ-Up!
Pre Race Day
  • Set Up Checklist
  • Initial Checklist
Practice 1
  • Post Practice Checklist
  • Track Checklist
Tire temps & pressures in the Hot Pit
Practice 2
  • Post Practice Checklist
  • Track Checklist
Practice 3
  • Post Practise Checklist
  • Track Checklist
Practice 4/Qualifying
  • Post Practice Checklist
  • Track Checklist
  • Post Practice Checklist
  • Track Checklist

We'd suggest you tweak these lists and sequence to fit your needs.  You'll notice they include things like data acquisition downloads and driver support oriented tasks.  We try to list everything so our grey matter is not taxed anymore than necessary.  Minimizing the amount of things that you have to remember becomes of the key advantages of these lists.  

Regardless of your skill level, routine inspection should be a requisite part of your track day activities.  If you don't have the ability to do the work yourself, considering hiring a capable shop or mechanic to do the work for you.  Nothing is worse than losing a track weekend because you forgot to tighten a bolt, check fluid levels or inspect your brakes.  A bit of preventative maintenance will go along way to ensuring you have a great weekend.

Clean cars win races!

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